After more than a decade of industry hype, the nirvana of true utility cloud computing – where spinning up computing power, storage and network capacity in the cloud is as simple as turning on a tap – is becoming a reality for most. There’s no denying offerings and tool-sets have matured to the point where savvy organisations can use the cloud to attain significant benefits in terms of flexibility, operational efficiency and business agility.
While different providers’ offerings vary wildly in terms of their readiness to support large organisations’ needs, it is becoming easier to find partners with the requisite levels of service, reliability and security.
The trickle of large enterprises migrating critical workloads to the cloud five years ago is now a steady flow, and that will accelerate over the next few years as more on-premise systems reach end-of-life and organisations examine available options. However, organisations must ensure they have the skills and support to optimise systems for cloud operation, since migrating a mess will only result in more expense and complication.
It’s important too to remember that while some cloud providers’ proprietary features may be expedient to use today, doing so can effectively lock you into their platform. Organisations should be pushing providers to support fully interoperable standards, and in the meantime should be keeping workloads as portable as possible, for example by using containerisation technologies.
From a networking perspective, businesses must make sure that their connections to cloud service providers are secure and sufficiently speedy and deliver the application experience they need. Whilst some cloud applications are very tolerant of Internet connectivity and variable delays others are less so and hence benefit from a direct connection. This means that the network strategy for cloud needs to be considered on an application by application basis and potentially on a location by location basis too.
The choice of how a cloud application or workload is connected to the organisation’s network also affects the security considerations one should take into account to fully protect valuable information and data. In some cases trade-offs can be made when the inherent security of the network can help to mitigate a number of potential threats. And if you’re in any doubt about your best course of action, talk to an organisation who has expertise in cloud, networking and security.
If you’re interested in reading more about our Cloud services, check out our pages on Cloud Connectivity.